Stress reduces hemolymph ecdysteroid levels in the crab: Mediation by the eyestalks

M. P. Mattson, E. Spaziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In decapod crustaceans, molt hormone (ecdysone) production by Y-organs is suppressed by an eyestalk neurosecretory product, molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH). Environmental stressors are known to delay or prevent molting in crabs. The present study assesses the function of the MIH-Y-organ neuroendocrine system in the crab Cancer antennarius under conditions of daily handling stress. After three days, stressed crabs showed significant suppression of hemolymph ecdysteroid levels, which continued to fall to 20% of controls by day 14. Ecdysteroid titers of stressed crabs returned to prestress levels seven days after stress termination. Ecdysteroid levels in de-eyestalked (DES) crabs rose 160% within 48 hr post-DES. Stressing DES crabs over 16 subsequent days did not significantly alter ecdysteroid levels compared with unstressed DES controls. Handling stress thus depresses hemolymph ecdysteroid levels in the crab, a response that is mediated by eyestalks and appears to result from stress-induced MIH release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-323
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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